Trade associations, like everyone else, have made the move to the digital world. Recruitment, education, events, donations, and industry news are all now shared online through their websites and social media accounts. Many members register through the association’s website and rely on this website for the latest news and updates regarding the association and the industry itself. With this being the case, it is vital for your trade association’s success that your website be secure, up to date, mobile first, and user friendly. Below we discuss the importance of each of these aspects, and what you can do to make sure your association’s website meets these criteria.
- Have a clean, up-to-date website
One of the first aspects that should be considered with your trade association’s website is if it is clean and representative of your association. Outdated websites look clunky and can be hard to navigate for users. If your site is not already on WordPress; we highly recommend making the switch over. Over 34% of the world’s websites are built using WordPress including major industries such as Disney, Sony, and The New York Times. WordPress is the best content management system on the market. It’s ease of use, functionality and affordability make it one of the best CMS systems in the world. A variety of themes, plug-ins, and design elements allow for your WordPress website to be created to your specifications. It is easy to make a site that is user friendly and simple to navigate. Websites built on WordPress look professional, clean, and go far in making sure your members have a positive user experience.
- Keep your website safe and secure
In the digital realm, security is of the utmost importance. Your members’ data as well as your reputation may be on the line if your website falls victim to hacking. There are many negative effects an attack on your website could cause. Identity theft, slow speed, having your account suspended, and a complete crash are a few of the big things that can happen; all of which can tarnish or even ruin your reputation. A lot of the time, for WordPress sites, these attacks take place when themes and plug-ins are not regularly updated. Updates are usually released to better the security of a theme or plug-in and leaving yours out of date leaves your website open to bad actors. An easy way to prevent this and stay updated is to have a maintenance plan, this is someone who regularly updates all of your plug-ins and themes, creates backups, and performs security scans. These plans are affordable; and save you time and money in the long run if something were to happen to your website.
- Having a Mobile-First Website
One of the most important aspects of your website is that it is mobile first. This simply means that it is optimized to be viewed on mobile devices without losing quality or functionality. Most people view websites now on their smartphones and mobile devices and your website needs to show up looking just as good as it does on a desktop. Not having a mobile first website will not only effect how your visitors see your website on their devices, but also how Google will rank your website. This, in turn, affects where your site falls on the search engine result page (SERP) which is the page you see when you search for your association or related industry key terms on Google. If you are unsure if your website is mobile friendly, simply attempt to look at it on your phone. Make sure to test all of the menus and features to make sure they work and load quickly. You can also run a mobile test with Google here.
- Strong, Timely, Thoughtful Content
When you have a secure, mobile first website that looks amazing, you need to fill it with strong and engaging content that will bring visitors to your site and help drive your membership. Content can take a number of forms including blogs, videos, photos, podcasts, infographics, case studies, white pages, and reviews. It is suggested that you have thought-leadership content that relates to your association’s industry and will be of interest to your audience. Regularly releasing relevant content will not only keep people interested and visiting your site, it will also help your Google rankings. For associations, it is also good to continue to provide your members with good content, so they feel they are getting the value they deserve for their membership. It is even possible to make some content members only or paid content to add the additional value to members. A good content marketing strategy will keep your association’s website timely and relevant.
All of these aspects work together to make sure your association is well represented by your website and has a strong online presence. This helps your membership retention and recruitment, credibility, and overall value. Arc 3 Communications provides everything you need to build, operate, and maintain a professional association website. We also are able to create and put in motion a content marketing strategy that will work for your association including content calendars, content creation, and content program analysis. Our maintenance plans assure your website is safe and secure and all of your themes and plugins are updated. This also includes backups of your website and performance scans to make sure your website is running smoothly and quickly. For help optimizing your association’s website, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 678-348-6024.
For more information visit us at www.arc3communications.com.